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Biology at Advanced Level develops many of the topics you have already studied at GCSE and introduces you to some new and exciting areas of biology. The course covers the key concepts of Biology and practical skills are integrated through the course making the course academically challenging, varied and fun.

You will learn about the core concepts of biology and about the impact of biological research and how it links to everyday life. You will study, for example, the influence that genes have on our development, the mammalian systems and the impact of future human population increases. Biology is a practical subject so you will develop many experimental and mathematical skills. It is hoped that this course will help you gain some understanding of the dynamic and exciting nature of biology and an awareness of the ethical aspects of the subject.

The course is structured into six themes. These are: development of practical skills in biology; cells and chemical for life; gas exchange and transport; biodiversity, evolution and disease; communication, homeostasis and energy; genetic, evolution and ecosystems.

Exam board: OCR

Essential Entry Requirements: Standard Sixth Form requirements and GCSE Biology Grade 6, or Combined Science Grade 6,6, and GCSE Mathematics Grade 6

Desirable Entry Requirements: If you are studying more than one science at A-Level, we would prefer you to have Grade 7 in these at GCSE


Paper 1 (H422/01) Biological Processes 2hours 15 minutes (37%)

Paper 2 (H422/02) Biological Diversity 2 hours 15 minutes (37%)

Paper 3 (H422/01) Unified Biology 1 hour 30 minutes (25%)

Practical Endorsement (H422/04). Students complete a minimum of 12 key practicals over the two year course and are awarded a pass/fail grade alongside their A Level result.

Additional Costs

We provide:  In class access to:-

Advanced Biology for OCR A, Oxford:  Oxford University Press.  

A course textbook covering both years of the course is provided in lessons as well as numerous resources on the Gateway and additional resources in class for investigative and conceptual learning.  There will be online access to all of these.

Other costs:  To be met by students

Essential for the course, please purchase as soon as possible at the start of the course.

  • Non-programmable scientific calculator.
  • Penny, J. and Leftwich, P. (2018) Maths Skills for A Level Biology, Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes. 2nd edition.  £7.50  ISBN:  978-50852118-2

There will also be opportunities for field trips and courses during the two-year course which will incur an additional cost but is carried out locally as far as possible to reduce costs.

Additionally, there are revision guides available which are highly recommended.  Good examples are shown below.  It is suggested that you start the course before buying a revision guide so that the most appropriate one is chosen to suit your learning needs and style of revision.

Pearson – Revise OCR AS/A Level Biology A – Revision guide with single-user online edition – ISBN 9781447984368

Oxford – A Level Biology for OCR A – Revision Guide – ISBN 9780198351948

CGP – A Level Biology OCR A Revision guide and practice with online edition – ISBN 9781789080353

Biozone – A Level year 1/AS - Student workbook – ISBN 9781927309131

Biozone – A Level year 2 – Student workbook – ISBN 9781927309148